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Notices going to those eligible for mortgage deal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- More than 37,000 Indiana borrowers who lost homes to foreclosure will soon receive claim forms for payments under the national mortgage settlement, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Tuesday.

Zoeller urged eligible borrowers to return completed claim forms as soon as possible or file claims online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. The deadline is Jan. 18, 2013. Payments are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.

Indiana and 48 other states earlier this year joined the federal government's settlement with five major mortgage lenders and servicing institutions to settle allegations of robosigning. As part of the settlement, Indiana homeowners who were foreclosed upon and experienced a servicer error between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, will split $31.4 million in cash payments.

Depending on the number of eligible claimants, the average payment will be about $840 per household.

"Our office recognizes that these payments are not going to make affected borrowers whole again, because the impact of foreclosure is far-reaching and devastating to families," Zoeller said in a statement. "However, this historic settlement does provide some much needed relief to those who may still be struggling to make ends meet."

The national settlement administrator mailed notification postcards to eligible borrowers nationwide last week.

Eligible homeowners must have had loans serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America Corp., Citi Bank, JP Morgan Chase & Co., or Wells Fargo & Co. and lost their homes either through sheriff sales, short sales or deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Consumers who believe they are eligible but didn't receive a postcard or claim packet can call the settlement administrator's toll-free hotline at 1-866-430-8358, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT. Borrowers who have questions or need help filing their claim can also contact the settlement administrator at the toll-free number or send questions by email to administrator(at)nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

Zoeller said eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer or to participate in the Independent Foreclosure Review Process being conducted by federal bank regulators. More information about that program is available at www.independentforeclosurereview.com.

Eligible borrowers may get a payment from the state share settlement even if they participate in another foreclosure claims process, Zoeller said.